NEW LEAD PAINT REGULATIONS
By Marvin Fleschman, CAPS
(c) 2000 - All rights Reserved
On Sept 15th additional laws were passed to strengthen
and expand the existing lead paint regulations that have been
around since 1996. Until now, Title X, Sec 1018 held us to
disclosure and dissemination of lead paint and lead paint
hazards to the tenant or buyer of residential property.
The new Sections 1012 and 1013 set standards that must be
followed whenever paint in target housing is disturbed.
All workers and supervisors must now take special training in
Lead-safe work practices from a HUD Trainer who has passed a
HUD Designated course and been authorized to teach Lead-Safe
Work Practices. All their work must be inspected by EPA certified
inspectors. All major work areas must be dust-tested and passed
by a laboratory BEFORE tenants are allowed to re-occupy. Along
with all the changes to protect workers and tenants, owners
and management must follow prescribed paperwork and
documentation of notices and methodology.
On Sept 25 and 26th I attended a class in Phoenix that
HUD was giving to explain the old and new laws and to teach
what is now to be required of workers and management for
compliance. I went to the class as an admittedly skeptical
observer to report back to readers from a property owner's
viewpoint. I came away with an appreciation that a real
threat to the health of the tenants and workers may exist
on some properties.
II. BACKGROUND INFORMATION
We can thank a half-century of uncaring, apathetic, and
bought-off American politicians who allowed lead to be an
ingredient of gasoline, toys, plumbing, and paint long after
evidence was clear that it was a poison. We have ads from
1890s European newspapers and posters boasting that their
paint is non-poisonous and free of lead.
At the same time, American ads were extolling the benefits
of high lead-content in our paint: durable, holds color longer,
resists mold and mildew, prevents corrosion, quicker drying.
In the 50s, regulations were finally put into effect to force
the paint manufacturers to find alternate lead-free formulas for
their paint, but the powers-that-be allowed the phase-out to
be ever-so-gradual over the next 20 years. In 1978, all this
baloney came to an end. Lead in residential paint was out
and most other major contributors to lead in the atmosphere
were well on their way to being lead-free.
What we are faced with today is several generations
of buildings constructed before 1978 that have various amounts
of lead on their walls, doors, cabinetry, floors, railings, fences,
and in the soil.
Most people will find little to dispute with my account
of history so far. In fairness, I want to acknowledge the view
of some that the subject of lead danger is much ado about nothing.
They are against any government involvement that makes us
responsible to defend and care for everyone who sets foot
on our property. I agree, but the point I want to make here is
that whether we believe lead is a hazard or not, the law exists
and we all have to live with it.
I am not writing this article to win over one side of the debate
or the other. The purpose of this article is to help the average
residential property owner understand the intent of the laws
and how we are directed to conduct our business within its
requirements---whether we like it or not. An honest statement
with which we ALL can agree is every building built prior to
1978 COULD have lead paint on the property.
This POSSIBILITY is what has to be weighed in your
decision of how serious to take these laws.
III. THE "REAL" REASON WHY THE RULINGS
ARE SO IMPORTANT TO EVERYONE
Anyone who breaks into a wall for plumbing or electrical
work or repairs damaged walls or other painted surfaces,
has to think about the POSSIBILITY that he is scattering
lead dust into the air to be breathed and ingested by
people. Those people are not only the tenants and their
children, but the worker and HIS FAMILY when he brings
that dust home in his hair, on his clothes, shoes,
face and hands.
And, if the above is a POSSIBILITY, the owner or
management personnel of the building (sitting in their nice,
clean office with their feet up on the desk) have to give thought
to the POSSIBILITY of a phone call from the lawyer who
is claiming his client got lead poisoning from that property.
Yes, I can take a couple of paragraphs to explain what
fines the Feds have established to enforce this law at any
property receiving federal money. But, whether you receive
federal money or not, the Feds are amateurs/light-weights/little
kiddies, compared with the righteous zeal of lawyers who
will pounce on the owner of the building in which the child
with lead poisoning is living.
All pre-1978 buildings must assume that lead paint
is present on all surfaces and follow lead-safe work practices
in order to receive federal money. Unless you are willing
to go to the expense of a complete lead paint inspection
by a licensed inspector who certifies that your building is
lead-free, you MUST ASSUME there is lead present.
IV. WHO THE RULES IMMEDIATELY APPLY TO
Do you have Section 8 tenants with children under
six years old? Is your loan federally guaranteed or insured?
Was the housing built or rehabbed with federal assistance?
The leverage the Feds are using to enforce their requirements
is loss of their money. HUD should be concerned about a
backlash from landlords who will stop accepting Section 8 tenants.
Some landlords mistakenly think that if the don't rent to
Section 8 tenants, that they do not have to worry about the
new regulations. Even though many of us are not tied to
federal money, we are exposed to lawsuits if a tenant is
diagnosed with lead poisoning. If our workers don't follow
lead-safe practices and we don''t follow the notices and
record-keeping they suggest, lawyers would use the lack of
proper lead-safe practices against us in court.
V. WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP AVOID LAWSUITS
Following 1012 and 1013 lead-safe practices would
help defend against a claim of negligence; and let's not
overlook, COULD PREVENT A GENUINE CASE OF
LEAD POISONING FROM HAPPENING.
The assumption of lead means: PRIOR to any work
that disturbs more than 20 square feet (FT) of exterior surface,
2 SF of interior walls, or 10% of any single component
(window, door, baseboard):
1) You must notify the tenant or tenants who are affected
by the work. The notification is very specific and legally
2) The workers MUST be trained in lead-safe work practices
by a HUD Designated Lead-Safe Work Practices Trainer.
Where the owner does his own maintenance, he CANNOT
perform the work unless he has had the required training.
3) The area around the repair must be protected, prepared
and finally cleaned up (following very specific requirements)
in preparation for Final Clearance.
4) If the work area makes the apartment uninhabitable
for the tenant, the owner may be responsible to relocate
the family temporarily.
5) BEFORE the tenant or tenants are allowed to re-enter
the work area, the area must be tested and cleared by a
licensed tester and pass a laboratory clearance exam to
document that lead-hazard is not present.
6) The tenant is then notified and given documentation that
the job is complete and the area is lead-safe.
7) All records are to be kept at least 3 years.
Let me pause here and beg you---Please, please,
don't hurt me, don't call me nasty names, don't squeeze
my throat --- I saved you a trip to Phoenix and sat in
class for two days. I'm only the messenger!!
In the past, I have written reports on protecting
yourself from the minefield of potential lawsuits in this business.
The articles have focused on various topics including
Apartment Dogs, Liability Hazards, Fair Housing &
Discrimination Guidelines, Child Care Liability, and
Landlord vs. Tenant Rights? This report is just the
newest straw that our camel must carry.
Rental owners across the country are being fined.
Don't let it happen to you. Unless your property has
been certified lead free, all pre-1978 property
MUST be ASSUMED to contain lead paint.
VI. TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES
Marvin Fleschman, the author of this report, is a
HUD Designated Lead-Safe Work Practices Trainer.
He will offer "one-day"classes for mrlandlord.com
visitors nationwide in 2001 (beginning in Los Angeles in
January). Who can benefit from these classes?
All of the following. Owners, Managers, Management
Companies, Maintenance Workers and Contractors.
They are all REQUIRED by Title X, Sec 1012 & 1013
to receive lead hazard awareness training in a
HUD approved course on the strict requirements
of lead-safe work practices, legally required notices
and documentation. As a landlord, understand that the
federal mandate now requires you to take this class
if you want to even work on your own property.
Take control of your circumstances. Protect your
investment. Protect your tenants. You'll be able to sign-up
for a HUD approved classes through mrlandlord.com.
Full one-day classes are normally held on Saturdays.
Attendees who complete the class and pass the test
will receive HUD-sanctioned documentation that they
are Trained in Lead Safe Work Practices.
Call our office, 1-800-950-2250, if you would like
more information about where and when classes
will be offered or go to the following webpage -